Today NPR started a series on how to take inexpensive vacations. I sighed. I don't even remember the one from this morning but this afternoon there was a guy who was going to take his family on an Alaskan Cruise, but after finding out it would be $4000 he decided to take them tubing in Oregon.
Okay, I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with that, though really, the reporter was not making it sound fun at all. He sounded like he was scared witless, and not physically up to the challenge either. And he never mentioned how long the cruise was or how long he was planning on tubing in Oregon. Most Alaskan cruises are 7 days minimum. Did he honestly expect his kids to enjoy bumping down the same river for 7 days in a row? Did he do anything else with them? How much did that cost? Did this Pacific Northwest dad bother to check out cheap flights to Anaheim and summer discount tickets at Disneyland? Did he bother to downgrade from a luxury cabin into something more reasonable or ask for any discounts?
About 10 years ago I started taking a minimum of one vacation a year. The only rule was that it was a true vacation. I could go anywhere as long as it was farther than a day trip from my home. I've been a happier person for it.
Admittedly, now that I am in the travel industry this is a lot easier and I do get some deals that are not available to the general public. However, there are deals to be had, and sometimes going the cheap route isn't as cheap as you might think.
In fact, everyone's excuse for not taking a vacation is exactly why you should! That's right, the economy. It sucks, you're broke, I'm broke. But guess what? The travel and tourism industry is broke too! As I type this, there are 3 and 4 star hotel rooms in New York City that are selling for $99. These are rooms that would normally sell for $400 or more.
Okay, $100 too much for you? Have you seen the redesigns that economy line motels like Motel 6 and Econolodge have done? Some of these places look no different than a Marriott or Hilton business class property, yet they maintain rates at about $50, depending on the area.
And hotels are just the tip of the iceberg. There are deals to be had on all manner of attractions at a lot of different types of destinations. You are on the internet right now. This is your best resource for deals, coupons, advice and testimonials.
And then there's me!
I'm going to spend the next couple of days talking about ways to have the vacation of a lifetime without digging yourself deeper into debt. In the process I am going to convince myself that there is absolutely no reason that I should not go to London this fall because I may never have an opportunity like that again.
Tomorrow I am going to start with a cost comparison of a "staycation" in our local area (Dallas/Ft Worth) versus a vacation in New Orleans, Orlando and Savannah so stay tuned.